Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

Big Little LiesBig Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty by Liane Moriarty

Last month’s book club read, and I completely forgot to do a final wrap-up post about it. My apologies! I thought I’d have more blogging time during the summer but I’m not finding that to be the case – either I need to accept that this is the new reality of time available, and make adjustments to my expectations, or else hope that the school year structure will let me get back into my previous routine. Or maybe some of both?

Anyway, back to Big Little Lies. I LOVED it. Such a satisfying read, and it was a perfect vacation book – compelling and easy to read, but enough depth that I didn’t feel like I was wasting my reading time on pure fluff. There’s some real substance to Moriarty’s stories that provides a lot to think about even as you’re swept along in her storytelling.

The structure was really enjoyable to me – I liked how she opened it with the big event, and then went back to the beginning to let the reader see how it got to that point. I liked the interviews that were interspersed throughout the text – it was fun seeing personalities emerge from those little snippets. I really liked how not only was I trying to figure out who the killer was, but also who the victim was!

A heads-up as well if you liked this one: Moriarty has a new title, Truly Madly Guilty releasing July 26. I am *so* excited about this, and keep going back and forth about pre-ordering the Audible version. Anyone trying it?

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads:

Madeline is a force to be reckoned with. She’s funny and biting, passionate, she remembers everything and forgives no one. Her ex-husband and his yogi new wife have moved into her beloved beachside community, and their daughter is in the same kindergarten class as Madeline’s youngest (how is this possible?). And to top it all off, Madeline’s teenage daughter seems to be choosing Madeline’s ex-husband over her. (How. Is. This. Possible?).

Celeste is the kind of beautiful woman who makes the world stop and stare. While she may seem a bit flustered at times, who wouldn’t be, with those rambunctious twin boys? Now that the boys are starting school, Celeste and her husband look set to become the king and queen of the school parent body. But royalty often comes at a price, and Celeste is grappling with how much more she is willing to pay.

New to town, single mom Jane is so young that another mother mistakes her for the nanny. Jane is sad beyond her years and harbors secret doubts about her son. But why? While Madeline and Celeste soon take Jane under their wing, none of them realizes how the arrival of Jane and her inscrutable little boy will affect them all.

Big Little Lies is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

Book Details

Title: Big Little LiesBig Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
Author: Liane Moriarty
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Cover Love: The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

The Chosen by Chaim Potok (with linkup)

The ChosenAll the books for my facebook book club have been new-to-me this year, and I underestimated how nerve-wracking it would be for me. I’m worried that I’ll have picked books that don’t work well for discussion, or are just disappointing reads in general and leave everyone wishing they hadn’t wasted their reading time.

Fortunately, so far I’d say that I’m happy with all of the picks – they’ve been worth reading, at least in a general sense (as in, perhaps not for individual readers with their tastes, but for most situations, I think they’ve been worthwhile).

March’s book, The ChosenThe Chosen by Chaim Potok, has been my favorite so far, and is in many ways the perfect example of why I love book clubs. I don’t know that I’d have ever picked up the book otherwise, and clearly I needed the “push” that the assignment gave me. And what a shame it would have been to miss the book!

The characters are memorable, and some of the passages are still with me, as I think about them and consider what it can mean in my life. Particularly Reuven’s father’s comment about a life worthy of rest, and how that relates to me in my current life season. It’s a quieter book than many of the genre novels I enjoy, but I really appreciated the introspective nature of it and how thought-provoking it was. It’s also always an extra bonus for me when I learn from what I’m reading (one of the reasons I so love nonfiction) and I learned quite a bit about history and the Hasidic culture.

If you’ve never read it, I’d *highly* recommend that you do so. While I haven’t gotten to them yet, I will be reading the sequel, The Promise, as well as My Name is Asher Lev.


If you’ve written a post about The Chosen, you’re welcome to add it to the linkup below. And if you like looking at book covers, I featured versions of The Chosen in a recent post.

Looking ahead at next month, we’ll start our discussion on Station ElevenStation Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel April 4th. There will be a linkup for posts relating to that book on April 27th.


Link-up Guidelines:

1. Share a post about the book. Entries completely unrelated to this theme or linked to your homepage may be deleted.

2. Link back to The Deliberate Reader – you can use the button below if you’d like, or just use a text link.

The Deliberate Reader

3. The linkup will be open for two weeks.

4. Please visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them a comment.

5. By linking up, you’re granting me permission to use and/or repost photographs or comments from your linked post.

 Loading InLinkz ...

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

The Lake House by Kate Morton

The Lake HouseThe Lake House: A NovelThe Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton by Kate Morton

It’s so hard to write about this book without giving spoilers, so this will be very superficial. I loved this book. It’s not one I’d normally read – the kidnapped or missing child is one of my “do not read” triggers – but I trusted Morton (plus it was a book club book), and I am so glad I pushed past my initial hesitation.

As is Morton’s trait, it’s another alternating timeline book, and you get the story from multiple perspectives – including a brief view from the missing baby.

There are layers of mysteries here, and my one real complaint might be that it’s perhaps a bit too tidy in how everything is resolved. It does make it satisfying in many ways as a reader – there were only two real questions I had after finishing the book – but part of me thinks it gets to be a little too ridiculous having so much wrap up in the final chapters. And precisely HOW some of it gets resolved also gets a big “Really?” from me. No specifics because that would be a great big spoiler.

No matter, it was still a compelling read, and a great start to the book club year. It’s one that I highly recommended as a book club book – it provides a lot to discuss.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined.

Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as an author. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone…yet more present than ever.

Book Details

Title: The Lake House: A NovelThe Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton
Author: Kate Morton
Category: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: How to Blog for Profit without Selling Your Soul
Two years ago: Books Read in 2013

Recent Readaloud: No Children, No Pets

No Children No PetsNo Children, No Pets by Marion Holland

An unexpectedly enjoyable book. It’s an older title, and can be hard to track down, but it was included with our Sonlight Core A readalouds. If your library doesn’t have it and you have trouble locating it, it’s not an absolute must-read (in other words, don’t go to extreme effort or expense to find a copy), but if you can easily obtain it, it was fun to readaloud.

The Florida setting was one of my favorite parts (I am partial to it, as that’s where I grew up), and the slight mystery included in the plot held my son’s interest to the point where we read the last four chapters in one day – we both wanted to find out how everything resolved!

A warning though: it is old-fashioned, especially with occasional remarks about “women’s work.” If you are adamantly opposed to books with that sort of thing in it, you’ll likely want to pass on it.

Find the book: It’s out of print, and used copies are very expensive on Amazon. Sonlight has republished it themselves, and you may still be better off buying a copy from them and paying their shipping fees | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Three children and their widowed mother inherit a run-down apartment building in Florida. A sign on the front door says “No Children, No Pets.” Adventure awaits as the kids solve lingering mysteries and help fix up the building. A satisfying childhood tale that keeps you guessing what will happen next.

Book Details

Title: No Children, No Pets
Author: Marion Holland
Category: Juvenile Fiction
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Book Review: Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger
Two years ago: Book Review: Code Name Pauline by Pearl Witherington Cornioley and Kathryn J. Atwood
Three years ago: Biggest Disappointments of 2012

God’s Bestseller by Brian Moynahan

God's BestsellerGod’s Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible–A Story of Martyrdom and BetrayalGod's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible--A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal by Brian Moynahan by Brian Moynahan

Despite what the title might lead you to believe, this isn’t really a religious book. It’s a history book, telling the story behind the English Bible and the man who did so much of that translating.

It was assigned reading for a class I took in grad school, and I was thrilled to discover it was a fascinating account. Moynahan’s work gave me a deeper understanding of the King James Translation – I had never known that so much of that translation was actually based on Tyndale’s earlier work. Kind of funny, isn’t it? He was put to death by the King of England for translating the Bible into English, and later years another King of England had his name attached to a translation that used a large amount of that “heretic’s” work.

Wondering why you should care about these ancient events and personalities? Tyndale’s impact on the later King James translation has resulted in his continuing influence on our language today. It’s an amazing story, and I found myself wishing he’d lived long enough to finish translating the Old Testament.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
The English Bible—the mot familiar book in our language—is the product of a man who was exiled, vilified, betrayed, then strangled, then burnt.

William Tyndale left England in 1524 to translate the word of God into English. This was heresy, punishable by death. Sir Thomas More, hailed as a saint and a man for all seasons, considered it his divine duty to pursue Tyndale. He did so with an obsessive ferocity that, in all probability, led to Tyndale’s capture and death.

The words that Tyndale wrote during his desperate exile have a beauty and familiarity that still resonate across the English-speaking world: “Death, where is thy sting?…eat, drink, and be merry…our Father which art in heaven.”

His New Testament, which he translated, edited, financed, printed, and smuggled into England in 1526, passed with few changes into subsequent versions of the Bible. So did those books of the Old Testament that he lived to finish.

Brian Moynahan’s lucid and meticulously researched biography illuminates Tyndale’s life, from his childhood in England, to his death outside Brussels. It chronicles the birth pangs of the Reformation, the wrath of Henry VIII, the sympathy of Anne Boleyn, and the consuming malice of Thomas More. Above all, it reveals the English Bible as a labor of love, for which a man in an age more spiritual than our own willingly gave his life.

Book Details

Title: God’s Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible–A Story of Martyrdom and BetrayalGod's Bestseller: William Tyndale, Thomas More, and the Writing of the English Bible--A Story of Martyrdom and Betrayal by Brian Moynahan
Author: Brian Moynahan
Category: Nonfiction / History / Biography
My Rating: 4.5 Stars


Previously on The Deliberate Reader

One year ago: Yes, Chef

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger

Etiquette and EspionageEtiquette & EspionageEtiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger by Gail Carriger

Did you like Cinder? Then try this one.

Ok, you want more? I wasn’t expecting that much from Etiquette & Espionage – it could be fun, it could be ridiculous. Turns out it was delightful, in that same “I wasn’t expecting this” mode as Cinder. The tone reminded me of Cinder as well. I liked it so much I immediately wanted to read the next in the series, and was somewhat dismayed to realized I’d done it to myself again – fallen for a series where the final books won’t be published for ages.

If you hate fantasy, this will probably annoy you. It’s a mish-mash of fantasy and steampunk, and if I hadn’t been in the right mood I’m sure it would have seemed ridiculously silly. Instead it was lots of fun.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea–and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right–but it’s a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Book Details

Title: Etiquette & Espionage Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School #1) by Gail Carriger
Author: Gail Carriger
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie

Poirot InvestigatesPoirot Investigates: A Hercule Poirot CollectionPoirot Investigates: Hercule Poirot Investigates by Agatha Christie by Agatha Christie

My first experience with Christie’s short stories, and I LOVED them. I’ve said that I think I prefer Miss Marple, but after this book I might have to change my allegiance to Poirot. Or maybe it’s just that I liked him so much in this format; we’ll see as I continue reading through all of the books.

Hastings has annoyed me in the past, and this time he made me chuckle at his self-delusions. I loved the opportunity to see if I could solve the puzzle before the answer was revealed, and the short format worked perfectly for that – it’s hard to hide a lot of red herrings when each entry is so brief!

Super fun read, and it has me wishing for lots more short stories from Christie. [Read more…]

The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

The Queen of AttoliaThe Queen of AttoliaThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 2) by Megan Whalen Turner by Megan Whalen Turner

Heads-up before you read any further: some series don’t really matter if you read them out of order, but this one absolutely does. Do NOT plan on reading The ThiefThe Thief (The Queen's Thief, Book 1) by Megan Whalen Turner after this one, because you’ll have spoiled yourself for that book. In fact, you probably shouldn’t even read this review. Instead, go read my review of The Thief. 🙂

As is probably obvious from that intro, this is the second book in The Queen’s Thief series, which began with The ThiefThe Thief (The Queen's Thief, Book 1) by Megan Whalen Turner, and I liked this one even more. A warning though, that one early scene is pretty brutal for what otherwise could be read by younger teens or tweens. (If you look the cover you can probably guess what it involves. I don’t think that’s really a spoiler, because it takes place right at the beginning of the book.)

Even though some of the suspense is missing because I know there are a third and fourth book still to come (so I’m not truly worried about the main character surviving certain events), it’s still suspenseful in a “what will he come up with next” sort of way. There are also some really funny bits.

It’s a terrific young adult fantasy series, and I really hope the rest of the series is as enjoyable.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Revenge
When Eugenides, the Thief of Eddis, stole Hamiathes’s Gift, the Queen of Attolia lost more than a mythical relic. She lost face. Everyone knew that Eugenides had outwitted and escaped her. To restore her reputation and reassert her power, the Queen of Attolia will go to any length and accept any help that is offered…she will risk her country to execute the perfect revenge.

…but
Eugenides can steal anything. And he taunts the Queen of Attolia, moving through her strongholds seemingly at will. So Attolia waits, secure in the knowledge that the Thief will slip, that he will haunt her palace one too many times.

…at what price?
When Eugenides finds his small mountain country at war with Attolia, he must steal a man, he must steal a queen, he must steal peace. But his greatest triumph, and his greatest loss, comes in capturing something that the Queen of Attolia thought she had sacrificed long ago…

Book Details

Title: The Queen of AttoliaThe Queen of Attolia (The Queen's Thief, Book 2) by Megan Whalen Turner
Author: Megan Whalen Turner
Category: Fiction / Young Adult Fantasy
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Buried in the Sky by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest DayBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan

Last year I recommended No Way Down, a journalist’s account of the tragic 2008 climbing season on K2. As much as I enjoyed that account, Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan is even better. If you are at all interested in stories of mountaineering or survival, this is a fantastic and fascinating account.

Zuckerman and Padoan do an outstanding job of making the events understandable for non-mountain climbers. My one complaint with No Way Down was that occasionally it got too technical and it bogged down the narrative. That’s not an issue with Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan.

I especially appreciated the focus this book puts on the Sherpas and their history. Most of the books in this area that I’ve read have been written from a Western perspective and a with a focus on the Western climbers. This one instead gives a broader perspective and brings to life the men who risk their lives to help adventurers reach the summit of the world’s highest peaks. Despite having recently read that other account of the same events, I hadn’t fully appreciated the heroic measures undertaken by some of the men, and definitely hadn’t gotten to know the workers as anything more than a list of names.

Sometimes books with more than one author suffer from not having one clear authorial voice. Buried in the SkyBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan is smoothly written, and the two authors make a great writing team. The back-story behind why and how the book was written was also interesting, and their passion for the story shows.

Highly recommended. This isn’t just a great book if you want to know more about that K2 season. It’s simply a great book.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
When Edmund Hillary first conquered Mt. Everest, Sherpa Tenzing Norgay was at his side. Indeed, for as long as Westerners have been climbing the Himalaya, Sherpas have been the unsung heroes in the background. In August 2008, when eleven climbers lost their lives on K2, the world’s most dangerous peak, two Sherpas survived. They had emerged from poverty and political turmoil to become two of the most skillful mountaineers on earth. Based on unprecedented access and interviews, Buried in the Sky reveals their astonishing story for the first time.

Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan explore the intersecting lives of Chhiring Dorje Sherpa and Pasang Lama, following them from their villages high in the Himalaya to the slums of Kathmandu, across the glaciers of Pakistan to K2 Base Camp. When disaster strikes in the Death Zone, Chhiring finds Pasang stranded on an ice wall, without an axe, waiting to die. The rescue that follows has become the stuff of mountaineering legend.

At once a gripping, white-knuckled adventure and a rich exploration of Sherpa customs and culture, Buried in the Sky re-creates one of the most dramatic catastrophes in alpine history from a fascinating new perspective. 16 pages of illustrations; 8 maps

Book Details

Title: Buried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2’s Deadliest DayBuried in the Sky: The Extraordinary Story of the Sherpa Climbers on K2's Deadliest Day by Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
Authors: Peter Zuckerman and Amanda Padoan
Category: Nonfiction
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!

Book Review: My Life in France

My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme - Nonfiction book review by The Deliberate ReaderMy Life in FranceMy Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'Homme - Nonfiction book review by The Deliberate Reader. by Julia Child with Alex Prud’Homme

I picked this book up on a whim – I love biographies, but I tend to shy away from celebrity biographies. Julia Child was a celebrity, but I decided to give this book a chance because, in a way, she got her start as a writer before becoming famous. And I am so glad that I tried the book – it’s a delightful account of her years in France, written by Child and her grand-nephew in the last few years of her life.

Because the book is based in large part on the letters that Julia and her husband Paul wrote to friends and family, it retains a contemporary feel and minimizes the retrospective analysis some biographies or memoirs have. I loved Child’s account of her first meal in France – how eye-opening it was and how it led to her eventual status as an American cooking icon.

I always love behind-the-scenes details, and the stories about what all went into the publication of her masterpiece “Mastering the Art of French Cooking Volume 1” are fascinating. The years of work, the struggles with her coauthors, the difficulties in finding a publisher – even though I know that eventually it is published to wide acclaim, I still found myself wondering how on earth she stuck with it and persevered.

The joy and exuberance with which Child approaches life is infectious, and her love for her husband is heart-warming. Overall it is such a wonderful read: light, amusing, and fun. I highly recommend it.

Find the book: Print | Kindle | Audible | Goodreads

Publisher’s Description:
Julia Child single-handedly awakened America to the pleasures of good cooking with her cookbook Mastering the Art of French Cooking and her television show The French Chef, but as she reveals in this bestselling memoir, she didn’t know the first thing about cooking when she landed in France.

Indeed, when she first arrived in 1948 with her husband, Paul, she spoke no French and knew nothing about the country itself. But as she dove into French culture, buying food at local markets and taking classes at the Cordon Bleu, her life changed forever. Julia’s unforgettable story unfolds with the spirit so key to her success as as a cook and teacher and writer, brilliantly capturing one of the most endearing American personalities of the last fifty years.

Book Details

Title: My Life in France
Author: Julia Child with Alex Prud’Homme
Category: Nonfiction / Biography
My Rating: 4.5 Stars

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting The Deliberate Reader!